The Amazing Spider-man exceeded my expectations. I had trepidations that this reboot was too much too soon, coming on the heels of Sam Raimi's mostly successful version of the webcrawling superhero only a few years prior. Even though Raimi's third film was a letdown in many people's eyes (including my own), I still would have liked to have seen what else he had in store for the character. Nevertheless, the new director, Marc Webb, did an exceptional job of making Spidey fresh and interesting, but should the studio have given Raimi another chance to continue his story? Was it fair to show him the door just because he completed a trilogy? It seems as if Hollywood is infatuated with the idea of making movies in threes, and since Spider-man 3 didn't live up to expectations, Sony decided to go back to the drawing board.
Christopher Nolan has wrapped up his Batman saga after three movies. When many screenwriters pitch potential franchises, they often outline a three film arc. Of course, if the first movie fizzles, those thoughts die with their box office results. George Lucas didn't really invent the idea of the cinematic trilogy, but his Star Wars saga made it fashionable with all that talk about the journey of the hero and the three-act structure expanded into a three-film template. The trilogy is a cliche in and of itself.
With so much money on the line, producers aren't willing to take chances. Ang Lee's Hulk led to a quick Incredible Hulk reboot. When Bryan Singer left the X-Men and Brett Ratner's attempt at a third chapter, X-Men: The Last Stand, received critical bashing, we suddenly were given a prequel, X-Men: First Class, the success of which has raised talk of a prequel trilogy.
Just because some writers choose to tell their tales in three parts and they've done it well (think J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or the heralded "Spock Trilogy" of the original Star Trek motion pictures -- Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, and Voyage Home), it doesn't mean that it should be a model adhered to by so many.
Amazing Spider-man had some genuinely fine performances by Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. I don't mind recasting roles to continue a long-running series, but must we abandon continuity in the process? Did we really need to start all over again with another origin story? Now there is talk of this current version having a trilogy plot. Why? Shouldn't each movie stand on its own, even if it has references to previous flicks and teases upcoming sequels, but why pigeon-hole everything in a finite three movies?
I shouldn't vent though, because I have some trilogy ideas of my own for some screenplays I'm writing. But if they sell and turn into blockbusters, I can easily turn them into a string of ten movies without having to reboot along the way! Carry on.